How To Remove Water Spots From Car Windows – Quick and Cheap

Ever get water spots on your windshield that won’t go away?  You know what I’m talking about… you’re out driving and notice a bunch of water spots on your windshield. So you tug on the windshield washer stalk. Fluid jets out, wipers come on…. And the spots are still there. Mocking you. So how does one eliminate those pesky water spots? In this article, I’ll explain how you can easily remove water spots from car windows.

Here’s some good news: you can likely remove water spots using simple home remedies with stuff you already have lying around the house. But first, why are those stupid marks even there?

Why do I have water spots on my car windows?

The #1 culprit of water spots is hard water. Hard water is high in minerals such as calcium and magnesium.  When it gets on your car windows and is left to dry, only the water evaporates and the minerals are left behind as water spots.

My job here is to tell you how to remove water spots from car windows. But before I do, I’m going to channel my inner Bill Nye Science Guy  and geek out on the science behind water spots and what removes them.

Hard water is formed when water flows through soil and rock. The level of minerals in the ground It is highly dependent upon where you live or where your water source is located. The mineral deposits in hard water are alkaline in nature. 

Remember the pH scale from high school chemistry class? Me neither. I had to Google it. 

All you need to know is that hard water’s alkaline nature can be eliminated by using something that is acid in nature.

Lucky for you, there’s a few things that are acidic in nature that are likely in your kitchen right now and you can use them to remove water spots from car windows.

photo of a bottle of vinegar on the hood of a white car

Using vinegar to remove water spots from car windows

In most cases, using a 50/50 solution of white distilled vinegar and water will remove water spots. Simply mix it up in an empty spray bottle, spray it on your windows, let it sit for a few minutes, and wipe away. 

If one application doesn’t work, do it again.

Using lemon juice to remove water spots from car windows

Maybe you don’t want your car to smell like a giant pickle on wheels. Or maybe you don’t have any vinegar in the house.

You then turn to lemon juice.

Photo of a spray bottle with vinegar and water

Use a lemon squeezer to juice 3 lemons into a cup of water. Pour the mixture  in your empty spray bottle, spray on your windows, let it sit for a few minutes and wipe away.

As with vinegar….. If the water spots don’t come off, try another application.

I’ve also heard of people just slicing lemons and rubbing them directly on to their car windows and then rinsing with water and wiping clean.

If that’s the route you want to take, go for it! I personally prefer the spray bottle method.  

A quick word of caution about using lemons. Do not use bottled lemon juice. There’s often additives or sweeteners in these products and they will leave behind residues or make your car windows sticky. 

Photo of different water spot remover products

Store-bought products

The home remedies generally get rid of water spots. But if your water is particularly hard, or if you let water dry and really “bake on” under hot, direct sunshine, then you might have no choice but to try something next-level.

There’s several products on the market formulated especially to remove water spots from your car windows. Here are a few products I recommend:

Preventing water spots on your car windows

Now that you know how to remove water spots from car windows, it’s a good idea to understand a little bit about preventing it from happening again.

Be careful where you park

I’m lucky to have soft water where I live, so removing water spots from my car windows generally isn’t an issue. 

But at the office where I work (yes, I do have a regular job!) has hard water. I found this out the hard way one sunny August day when I parked too close to the sprinkler system. 

My car got an early afternoon shower of hard water and then dried under full sun. The result was terrible water spots all over my windows. 

Needless to say, from that day forward, I chose a parking spot far away from the sprinklers. 

Even if you know the water isn’t hard, you should avoid leaving your car near a sprinkler. There could be other dirt and grime  on your car windows that you can’t see, but when they mix with water and then dry under the sun, you’ll be left with water spots.

Dry your car windows

If you know you are using hard water to wash your car, be sure to thoroughly dry your car. 

Using a microfiber cloth isn’t  good enough. I recommend using a basic squeegee for your windows and windshield.

And if you’re a stickler like me, you’ll want to do your mirrors too. Pick up a small squeegee to make sure your side view mirrors stay free of water spots.

Another good option is to blow dry your car. There are some great car-specific dryers on the market like this,.

You’ve likely heard of good ole Rain-X. This product helps water bead up and roll off your windows. 

A leaf blower can work as a drier too.  Just make sure it’s free of debris before you point it at your car!

Water repellant treatment

Picture of Rain-X

Another good prevention method on your path of learning how to remove water spots from car windows is water repellent treatment. 

You can also apply ceramic coating to your car windows. Ceramic coating is a popular car paint/finish protectant. But it can also be applied to your car’s windows. It will basically do the same thing as Rain-X for your windows, but will last much longer.

Rain-X and ceramic coating will only minimize the amount of water that stays on your windows. It won’t eliminate it. That said, some water can still remain and will leave water marks on your car windows when it dries. 

On the positive side, windows treated with Rain-X or ceramic coating are much easier to try. So if you squeegee or use a blower, the water will come off with ease.


Learning  how to remove water spots from car windows was a lot easier than you thought, right?  If you take some preventive measures, you can prevent them from coming back. And you’ll never again have to experience the aggravation of driving with spots on your windshield that won’t come off no matter how much washer fluid you squirt at them!

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